Older people are very rightly reminded of the need to keep fit but this seems to be mainly concerned with physical fitness, I suspect that this is because most of the agenda on ageing is run by, and organised by, younger people. They are the ones who witness the outcomes with older people who don’t involve themselves in some sort of fitness regime, be it alone at home or in a more designated situation. It is younger people, particularly doctors and nurses, who witness the result of falls and other mishaps. Walking and balance exercises seem to be the main recommendations for older people.

I am assuming that this explains why exercises to keep our brains healthy are less common. At one stage Sudoku was recommended but this seems to have gone out of favour, partly I suspect because it may only have benefitted one part of our very complex brains. Research by one leading university found that 6 months after doing mind games a comparison between a group of people who had done them had exactly the same results as those who hadn’t.

So where does that leave us? This situation was brought to my attention when I recently attended a talk on different types of food, followed by a tasting session. This was very popular and a queue formed. The lady in front of me grabbed a couple of samples and then stood there and ate them, completely oblivious of those behind her whose access she was blocking. I don’t know whether she intended to stand there and eat the whole lot herself!

The same situation tends to happen in supermarkets where people will stand right in the middle of an aisle, preventing people passing on either side. I think it tends to happen more with older people who don’t have the same urgency about their shopping as younger people. It always reminds me of a beautiful golden retriever we used to have whose favourite place to lie down was in front of the fridge. It certainly got him plenty of attention!

So what has this got to do with brain health? I’m suggesting that if we keep ourselves aware of our environment, and the people we share it with at any time, we are likely to keep more bits of our brain healthy. I read somewhere how beneficial it was to look at the sky everyday, particularly any clouds that may be around. It is part of the changing world around us that most of us seem unaware of yet what a difference noticing it makes. It seems to put life into a different perspective.

Unless we live in an enclosed prison cell there is an ever-changing world around us. Noticing it, whether clouds or people (or both) I’m sure it is good for us to keep ourselves aware. Perhaps it might even make us healthier.